This weekend I've been in a TV watching mood, so I decided to catch up on two shows that underwhelmed TV critics and audiences, too: NBC's Kings and Showtime's United States of Tara. After watching them, however, I'm afraid I have to disagree. I absolutely loved every minute of each of these shows (give or take some parts of the last two episodes of Kings). Their writing is top-notch, definitely not for everyone but exciting and richly rewarding if you give it the attention it deserves, and the acting on both shows is out-of-this-world ensemble work at its best. I could write at length about each of these shows, but right now I just want to focus on one character from each show: Prince Jack (Sebastian Stan) on Kings and Marshall (Keir Gilchrist) on Tara. Okay, so it's obvious and almost predictable that I'm latching right on to the moes, but the characters are so different from the usual bitchy gays we've become so accustomed to on TV that I was immediately fascinated/in love with them.
Let's start with Marshall, the youngest member of the clan on the Diablo Cody-written United States of Tara. Played by Keir Gilchrist, Marshall is your classic sitcom outcast, the "oddball" of the family who would rather watch Pandora's Box or dress in a sportcoat and tie for school everyday (seriously, though, can I have his wardrobe?) than be trendy and hip. In typical Diablo Cody fashion, his best friend/fag hag is a quirky intellectual girl who wears long, frumpy dresses and horn-rimmed glasses while discussing the difference a From Here to Eternity kiss and a Place in the Sun kiss. But Marshall is also easy to love and, in my case, entirely relatable. Take out the mother with multiple personalities and closeted love interest and you basically have me in high school (and now, actually). It's all thanks to Gilchrist's performance that Marshall feels so fresh, unique and plausibly real (On a side note, can we please get Gilchrist and sister Brie Larson Emmy nominations?).
On the other end of the spectrum we have Prince Jack on Kings, played by Rants of a Diva favorite Leighton Meester's man Sebastian Stan (you may recognize him from Gossip Girl as the man Blair slept with earlier in the season to get revenge on Chuck for whatever reason). The show doesn't focus on the Prince's homosexuality even half as much as Marshall's (and that's pretty minor as it is) but he's still an interesting bad guy. I don't know if I've ever shared this, but I love a gay villain. Yes, I don't care what the old queen gay activists think, I love it when gay characters are mean, vindictive, sociopathic and/or willing to do whatever it takes to exact their revenge on those who have done them wrong. I find them infinitely more interesting than your standard queen. So, needless to say, I love the flashes of evil that flash from Stan's Prince Jack. Actually, it looks like he has been taking lessons from Meester on how to be so awesomely manipulative that the audience actually roots for you. I know I was, especially during the final episode when he's trying to screw over David, the war hero and his father's new favorite. Oh, and let's not forget Prince Jack's daddy issues or the fact that his father knows about his not-so-discreet liaisons with other men and thinks he's an abomination. Poor Prince Jack, he just can't catch a break, can he?